DUBLIN, Ohio, March 13, 2007-OCLC Online Computer Library Center has acquired TechAtlas technology planning software with a $1.9 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. WebJunction, OCLC's online community where library staff share ideas and use online resources to help them in their work, will further develop this Web-based technology management and planning tool with particular attention to helping public libraries create E-Rate compliant technology plans.
With support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, OCLC will now take over ownership of the TechAtlas product, and WebJunction will begin an intensive round of design and development work to extend TechAtlas features, such as expanding the ability to allow consortia to review and approve technology plans for their member libraries.
"TechAtlas is a powerful tool that will help public libraries better understand their technology needs and effective planning to sustain those services," said Jill Nishi, program manager of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's U.S. Libraries initiative. "We hope it will be a resource that public libraries will use to ensure sustainable access to computers and Internet access for their patrons long into the future."
"TechAtlas software was first developed to support a wide range of organizations, but WebJunction staff found it an ideal fit for library-related applications," said Marilyn Gell Mason, executive director of WebJunction. "The generous support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will make it possible for us to continue to develop this software specifically to help libraries-which is our sole mission at WebJunction."
TechAtlas is a Web-based technology management and planning tool, and provides an environment for small to medium libraries to inventory their technology assets and use that information as a starting point for building a comprehensive technology plan. For those libraries pursuing E-Rate funding, the technology plan approval process can be automated through TechAtlas. State library coordinators have the ability to review and approve individual library technology plans without the need to send e-mail or paper copies back-and-forth. TechAtlas can also be used by libraries that are not interested in obtaining E-Rate reimbursements, but simply want to take control of their use of technology and build a plan that can serve as a roadmap for future investments and upgrades.
WebJunction will also be providing TechAtlas to libraries participating in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's U.S. Libraries initiative's grant-making efforts. Special TechAtlas features will help these eligible libraries to deliver information to the foundation about their technology infrastructure, will assist in grant evaluation, and will provide valuable data to state library agencies on the public access computing "landscape" in their communities.
TechAtlas was originally developed by NPower, a national network of nonprofit organizations, to support a diverse community of non-profit organizations. WebJunction staff has spent the last several years working with NPower to enhance TechAtlas specifically for use by public libraries.
OCLC will continue to support NPower's community of TechAtlas users while further developing the product as part of WebJunction's services for libraries. OCLC will continue to offer TechAtlas to WebJunction members at no cost.
Founded in 1967 and headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, OCLC Online Computer Library Center is a nonprofit organization that has provided computer-based cataloging, reference, resource sharing, eContent and preservation services to 57,000 libraries in 112 countries and territories. OCLC and its member libraries worldwide have created and maintain WorldCat, the world's richest online resource for finding library materials. For more information, visit www.oclc.org.
About the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation works to reduce inequities and improve lives around the world. In developing countries, it focuses on improving health, reducing extreme poverty, and increasing access to technology in public libraries. In the United States, the foundation seeks to ensure that all people have access to a great education and to technology in public libraries. In its local region, it focuses on improving the lives of low-income families. Based in Seattle, the foundation is led by CEO Patty Stonesifer and Co-chairs William H. Gates Sr., Bill Gates, and Melinda French Gates. More information is available at www.gatesfoundation.org.